Sunday, January 12

the one casey is waiting for

after a while
the thing about drinking
is that it just feeds
what you drink to kill
and kills
what you drink to feel

reading

Two books I had doomed intentions of finishing in 2013:

The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt: I read her The Secret History about ten years ago, in college, and despite its situation in the genre territory of tragicomic rich-people-school stories with guilty asshole protagonists who have crippling class anxiety, I've thought about it pretty often ever since. Tartt is frequently a really good writer, and her characters seem sort of like real people, or at least like kinds of people that I imagine existing in a totally different version of my life which is defined by some kind of outsider status complex.

I just couldn't do it this time with the tragic flaws. As soon as I got to some characters who seemed like people I would totally want to hang out with, I thought about whether I wanted to watch the inevitable corruption of the lead by the slow accumulation of his own desperate dishonesty and decided to stop.

Killing Floor (Jack Reacher, No. 1), Lee Child: My dad and I share a taste for a certain kind of airport-fiction detective novel. He turned me on to both Robert B. Parker and John D. MacDonald when I was a teenager, and whatever its flaws, I still really love that stuff. He's been reading these Jack Reacher things for a while, they're all over the place, and this one comes with a prefatory essay by the author about pretty much setting out to write like MacDonald.

I don't wish to offend any fans here, but if anyone has ever more profoundly misunderstood the appeal of characters like Travis McGee than Lee Child, I don't want to know about it.

A book I have probably-doomed intentions of finishing in 2014:

Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945, Tony Judt: Because of this Ta-Nehisi Coates piece

Man. Such hate. What can men do against such reckless hate. Don't study history to boost your self-esteem. Study history to lose your religion. Or maybe in the end, to gain it. I am not religious at all. But seeing the limits of all of us, you start to understand why people might appeal to some higher, more certain, more fierce, invention.

— and also because I have gotten really lazy about knowing history, even though I still play a history major in bar conversations.